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and such a man have the Indians for ever lost. He has left a son; who, when bis father fell, was about 17 years old, and fought by his side. The prince regent, in 1814, out of respect to the memory of the old, sent out as a present to the young Tecumseh, a handsome sword. Unfortunately, however, for the Indian cause and country, faint are the prospects, that Tecumseh, the son, will ever equal, in wisdom or prowess, Tecumseh, the father.
According to Mr. Thomson, 120 Indians were killed at the battle of the Thames. General Harrison numbers 33 only. No wounded are mentioned by either. While the affair with the Creeks is fresh in our minds, what are we to infer from this? -However, let us proceed. Full
two-thirds of general Harrison's army, at the · battle of the Thames, were Kentuckians. As every soldier wore a scalping-knife as part of his accoutrements, and was extremely “ dexterous in the use of it;"* as the live Kentuckians bore to the dead Indians (taking Mr. Thomson's estimate) fully as 20. to one; and as one head
could conveniently afford but one scalp, we can picture to ourselves what a scramble there must have been for the trophies. For the European reader's edification, we will endeavour , at describing the manner in which the operation of scalping is performed. A circular incision,
* Sce p. 183.
of about three inches or more, in diameter, according to the length of the hair, is made upon the crown of the head. The foot of the operator is then placed on the neck or body of the victim, and the scalp, or tuft of skin and hair, torn from the scull by strength of arm, In case the hair is so short as not to admit of being grasped by the hand, the operator, first with his knife turning up one edge of the circle, applies his teeth to the part; and, by that means, quite as effectually disengages the scalp. In order to preserve the precious relict; it is then stretched and dried upon a small osier hoop. The western Indians invariably crop their hair, almost as close as if it were shořn ; to retaliate upon their enemies, probably, by drawing some of their teeth. As captain M*Culloch's prisoner * was a western Indian, we were, therefore, wrong in supposing, that the American officer practised any refinement in the art of scalping,
The body of Tecumseh was recognised, not only by the British officers who were prisoners, but by commodor Perry, and several American officers, An American writer (from the spot, it woald appear) says:--" There was a kind of ferocious pleasure, if I may be allowed the expression, in contemplating the contour of his features, which wąs majestic, even in death.” |--Poor chief! the majesty of his features could no longer, now he was dead, awe the Kentuckians; and that majesty was, by their merciless scalping-knives, soon converted into hideousness. Had the “ ferocious pleasure” of Americans required no further gratification than Tecumseh's scalp, custom might have been their excuse. The possessor of this valuable trophy would not, it may be supposed, part with a hair of it. Were the other Kentuckians, then, to march home empty-handed ?Ingenuity offered a partial remedy. One, more dexterous than the rest, proceeded to flay the chief's body; then, cutting the skin in narrow slips, of 10 or 12 inches long, produced, at once, a supply of razor-straps for the more - ferocious" of his brethren. We know that the editor of the United States' government-paper, the “ National Intelligencer," not many months ago, into a violent rage, because some anonimous writer here, had mentioned the circumstance. How will the American government bear to hear the fact thus solemnly repeated, accompanied by the declaration, that some of the British officers witnessed the transaction, and are ready to testify to the truth of it?-But, have we not American testimony in support of the charge?--The same writer who was so struck with the majesty in Tecumseh's countenance, and who, of course, would, by every means in
* See p. 62. + Burdick's Pol. and Hist. Reg. p. 84.
soften down an account that reflected so high dishonor upon his countrymen, says thus:-“Some of the Kentuckians disgraced themselves by committing indignities on his dead body. He was scalped, and otherwise disfigured."* : Considering the importance of Tecumseli 's death to the American cause, it is difficult to account for general Harrison's omission to notioe it; unless we suppose, that the general did transmit the account, but so blended with the “indignities” committed upon the chief's person, that the American secretary at war, finding a difficulty in garbling, suppressed altogether, that paragraph of the letter. This is strengthened by the circumstance of the flaying ceremony having been the topie of conversation in the United States, very soon after the receipt of the official letter, and of the private ones forwarded by the same express. † We now discover why the American editors wished to prejudice the publie mind against the character of Tecumseh. One of the three editors has been both artful and graceless enough, to lavish encomiums upon the humanity of the "volunteers of Kentucky.” These are his words :-"History can record to their honor that, not merely professing to be
* Burdick's Pol. and Hist. Reg. p. 84.
+ The Author heard it spoken of in Philadelphia, about the middle of October,
Christian people, they gave a high example of Christian virtues. For evil they returned not evil. For eruelty they returned mercy and protection.”*_Had we taken up Dr. Smith's book, - for the first time, we should have pronounced
this an excellent piece of irony. "On the day succeeding the battle of the Thames, major-general Proctor sent captain Le Breton, of the Newfoundland regiment, with à flag, to general Harrison, requesting
" that humane treatment might be extended to the : British prisoners.”Contrary to the laws of war, however, the American general detained the British officer, and sent no reply to majorgeneral Proctor's letter. Soon afterwards, general Harrison wrote a very insolent letter to major-general Vincent, on the subject of majorgeneral Proctor's application ; enclosing letters from some of the British officers, in which the ļatter mentioned, that they were kindly treated by the Americans. General Harrison, in his letter to general Vincent, avows a knowledge of the contents of these enclosures. The impression once made, was not easily to be effaced. The British officers soon saw through the trick ; soon began to repent that, urged by premature gratis tude, they had so grossly deceived themselves, their friends, and the public,
* History of the United States, Vol. III. p. 258.